Live Webinars with Minimal Equipment

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Live Webinars

Hardware Required for a Webinar

  • iMac or MacBook Pro
  • Focusrite Saffire PRO 14  (or equivalent)
  • Microphone
  • Webcam (Logitech C920 HD Webcam recommended)

Software Required for a Webinar

  • Soundflower
  • LadioCast
  • Cam Twist
  • Webcam Settings
  • Saffire MixControl
  • Reflector (optional)
  • ScreenFlow (optional)
  • Adobe Audition (optional)

Other Things You’ll Need for a Webinar

  • Google+ account
  • YouTube channel
  • WordPress site (optional)
  • IX Show Latest YouTube
  • Email List (optional)
  • Media Temple (dv) web hosting

Selecting a Webinar Platform

Google Hangouts On Air is, without a doubt, the very best platform for your live webinar. It’s easy to use, intuitive, has plenty of add-ons and best of all is completely free whether you’re hosting a webinar for 10 or 10,000 people!

Creating a Webinar on Google+

Hangout On Air

The first thing you’ll want to do is create your Hangouts On Air the right way inside Google+. Set a date and time and then Start a Hangout On Air by clicking the button available in the Hangouts section of Google+. You can then go live with your webinar now or later (in the future). I recommend the latter option, as you will then have the time to pre-promote your webinar to ensure the maximum amount of people know about it and will attend. Give it a name, description, set the date and time, select your audience (Public will give maximum exposure) then click Share. Your live webinar details will immediately be shared with your Google+ followers.

Adding Your Webinar to a WordPress Site

Please stand by…

Next, it’s time to ensure there’s a page on your WordPress site. That way you may push traffic to your own website instead of the Hangouts event page on Google+. I’d recommend a page such as your domain/live. You can embed your webinar using a plugin that will automatically update with your latest webinar – IX Show Latest YouTube. This works fantastically well and when you’re not broadcasting your webinar live, it will simply show a beautiful countdown to your next event.

Setting Up Video for your Webinar

I like to use Cam Twist to ensure the visuals for my webinar will be beautiful. There are many advanced features to Cam Twist, but for me, I just need three elements:

  1. I click Select on Webcam as my first video source and make sure my HD Pro Webcam C920 is the camera selected.
  2. I use the PIP (picture in picture) button to add PIP Desktop which is handy for sharing my desktop.
  3. I also add PIP Movie using the PIP button. This allows me to play pre-recorded movie clips in the webinar if I wish.

Setting Up Audio for your Webinar

Audio is a tricky thing to route around, but it may all be done using a single audio interface and your iMac. Here’s a guide as to how I set up everything myself.

Soundflower Bed

The first thing I would do is install Soundflower Bed, which is completely free. This allows you to re-route audio inside your iMac.

Cam Twist

You’ll only need to configure audio for Cam Twist if you intend to play pre-recorded movie clips using PIP Movie. This is easy to do; just head to Preferences > General and select Soundflower (64ch) as your audio output device.


Now it’s over to LadioCast and I configure it exactly as the screenshot shows.

LadioCast for Webinars

Input 1 is Saffire (my audio interface) for my microphone, so that I can speak live on the webinar. Input 2 is Soundflower (2ch), which I can assign in Adobe Audition and this will allow me to play the output of Adobe Audition to those watching my live webinar.

Main Output is Soundflower (64ch), a virtual audio device created by Soundflower, and Aux Output 1 is the Saffire which will allow me to also hear Adobe Audition output in addition to my audience.

Saffire MixControl

This software comes with my audio interface, and ensures that I can hear everything while the webinar is going on. I set it up as the screenshot shows.

Saffire MixControl

The most important setting is to have the Monitor Preset set to Quad, so that you can hear output on speakers and headphones during your live webinar.

Adobe Audition

During my live webinars from Audio Production Masters, I like to play the output of Adobe Audition. I can do this by configuring the input and outputs to be Soundflower (2ch), which will then be routed through to the webinar using the settings that I have explained earlier in LadioCast.

Adobe Audition Audio Settings

Google Hangouts Audio Settings

Your input should be Soundflower (64 ch); output can be your audio interface.

Webinar Optional Extras

Here are some nice-to-have apps and services that can help to make your live webinars even better!

Reflector App

This is so amazingly simple to use. Install Reflector App and then AirPlay your iOS device (iPad or iPhone) to your iMac.


Use ScreenFlow to pre-record sections for your webinar. It’s simple to use and can record your screen, audio output and even allow you to place callouts and text on the recordings. You can use it in conjunction with Reflector App to record your iOS device in action.

Email List

An email list will help tremendously with building an audience for your live webinar. It’s great doing a live event online, but if nobody turns up then what’s the point? Start collecting email opt-ins now and make sure to email at least twice before you start a webinar – I recommend using GetResponse.

Dedicated Hosting

Media Temple (dv) dedicated server plan is $50 per month and well-worth it if you will be hosting at least one high traffic webinar on your own website per month.

Join UK Podcasters

We’d like you to check out our UK Podcasters group. Wherever you are in the world you’ll see the fantastic podcasting that is happening here in the UK and in Europe.


  1. Podcast Bob says

    Mike. Just picked this up as I’ve been considering it for some time, however there’s a few basics which you’ve glossed over which I would like to touch on.

    1) Bandwidth? I’m in a rural location with half a meg up and 7 meg down. Where does this sit in the world of streaming quality using the system you describe above? I have equipment able to stream direct but to do it in HD and interact with others I’m told I need at least 10 meg up and 20-30 meg down.

    2) There are of course numerous way to do potentially do this and rather than having the confusing amount of software and Apps you talk about, what about keeping the whole video production and audio side separate and just using the Mac or PC as the interface? Therefore all the ‘input’ side audio, video, clips and screen sharing is all taken care of externally via a ‘switcher’ and then piped through the Mac/PC via a AV Firewire interface? However to pull up the video clips from other participants, can you have a second machine solely (logged into the same account) ‘outputting’ their video, or does it all have to be done on the same Mac/PC interface. Confused by the options.

    3) I hear what you say about the Google system being the most cost effective route currently, however it would be good to hear now you’ve used it numerous times, what you ‘can’t’ do with it and where the limitations are? You give a very positive spin on it, however if you consider how others might use it differently to you, what are the limitations.

    And finally, pretty please is there any chance you could slow down a bit from Local Radio speed? Sometimes the rate at which you mention technical specs, URL’s and such is so fast it is difficult to look them up on-line as you reel them off and I have to keep rewinding several times to understand how software (a) fits in the with app (b) and is wired up with hardware (c).

    Ta. Keep it up and thanks for your contribution to this ever changing world. There is a further question which comes from this all which relates to; does anyone provide a service who does all this for you? That is all the web linking, software prep, page preparation, Google set up, transcribing and so on? I hear you use numerous ‘virtual’ people to edit, post and release your podcast material, so surely it is the next natural step?

    Cheer, Bob

    • Mike Russell says

      Thanks for listening Bob and raising some great points!

      1. I’ve seen that Google recommend 1 mbps/2 mbps (up/down) for group connectivity. This seems pretty low and perhaps for HD video you may need bandwidth. It’s certainly something to consider before going live:

      2. The idea of keeping it all inside the computer is possible and will be very simple. I like the flexibility of adding in different audio sources and looping back computer audio. Perhaps hooking in to an external audio/visual mixing desk could take away the need to use so many 3rd party apps?

      3. I really enjoy Google Hangouts On Air especially the fact that you can use it to do private workshops for selected people in your Google+ circles. I guess it would be better to have an integrated leads system so that you could market your webinar outside of the Google+ ecosystem. I’ve heard from many, “but I don’t have or use Google+”.

      Thanks for the words and I’ll do my best to slow down too – hopefully Izabela will keep me in check – plenty of good thoughts in your comment.


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